Adolescent obesity is on the rise in India, according to the findings of a national fitness centre.
The Delhi-headquartered VLCC has reported a surge in the number of clients between the ages of 13 and 19 in the past few years, from five per cent of all enrolments across its 50-odd centres, to 10 per cent.
The chain is also working on a study of 600 children between the ages of 13 and 15 to get a clearer picture of obesity and the factors behind it in India. This is the first such study, claims VLCC, in India.
“In our country, in which adolescent obesity is an emerging problem only in the urban areas, there are no statistics to shed light on the real issues,” explains consultant doctor to VLCC, T. Biju Singh.
So, currently, the company, which has two branches in Calcutta, is going by in-house data. “Of the 10,000 slimming cases we have registered, 10 per cent are adolescents,” adds Singh.
Preventive measures, with help from both teachers and parents, can help combat this condition, as well as eating disorders, like anorexia nervosa and bulimia, said doctors at the Alipore branch of VLCC, which hosted a talk on the medical and psychological problems associated with adolescent obesity on Monday.
Genetic, hormonal and behavioural factors may lead to obesity, Singh said. A balanced diet, increased levels of activity and counselling can all stave it off. Psychologist Urmimala Sinha explained that children suffering from obesity are often ridiculed by their peers and are, thus, very susceptible to depression, low-self esteem and other forms of withdrawal.